Posts Tagged ‘neurons’

stem-cells

What Your Neural Stem Cells Aren’t Telling You

In this article for Scientific American, I explore a new study that found how “leaky” communication between nerve cells can actually be a good thing. In fact, these signal leaks seem to be crucial for triggering new brain cells to form. Plus, leaky connections like these seem to enable neuroglia – the brain’s mysterious “quiet cells,” which support and influence […]

mirrorneurons

What’s So Special About Mirror Neurons?

In this article for Scientific American, I dig into the theory that certain groups of neurons specifically work to interpret the goals of others’ movements. Could these neurons be involved in autism? Could they be crucial for empathy? Some famous researchers say yes… while others say it’s impossible. The discoverers of mirror neurons put forth what they […]

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“2013’s Nobel Prize Winners” — Podcast 11: James Rothman, Randy Schekman & Thomas Südhof

On Episode 11 of The Connectome Podcast, I’m joined by all three of 2013’s Nobel Prize winners in the Physiology/Medicine category — James Rothman, Randy Schekman and Thomas Südhof! All three of these guys contributed crucial pieces to a longstanding puzzle: How, exactly, do our brain cells communicate with each other? See, biologists had known […]

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The Top 5 Neuroscience Breakthroughs of 2013

If 2012 was the year neuroscience exploded into pop culture, 2013 was the year it stepped into the halls of power. The Obama administration’s $100-million BRAIN Initiative stirred up furious debate, as proponents cheered to see so much funding and press attention thrown at large-scale efforts to map the human brain, while opponents claimed that the […]

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Three Big Doubts About Brain-Mapping Efforts

Neuroscience research has come a hell of a long way since the days of scalpels and electrodes. While some research teams are exploring the molecular machinery that churns at the hearts of nerve cells, others are working to assemble wiring diagrams for whole regions of the human brain. Just as biological science never looked the […]

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The Top 5 Neuroscience Breakthroughs of 2012

More than any year before, 2012 was the year neuroscience exploded into pop culture. From mind-controlled robot hands to cyborg animals to TV specials to triumphant books, brain breakthroughs were tearing up the airwaves and the internets. From all the thrilling neurological adventures we covered over the past year, we’ve collected five stories we want […]

S. Emmons

“Using Worms to Crack the Human Brain” — Podcast 4: Scott Emmons

On episode 4 of the Connectome podcast, I chat with Scott W. Emmons, Ph.D., a professor of neuroscience and genetics at Albert Einstein College of Medicine. Dr. Emmons talks about his cutting-edge connectomics research, which may help us understand how neural circuits “decide” on a particular behavior. Though his recent work focuses on the nervous […]

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The Listeners from Below

Deep within your brain, they are listening. In still silence, they await signals from afar – dim echoes of distant calls. And when they hear what they’ve been waiting for… they will awaken. They are known as neural stem cells – and not only are they real; researchers have just made some major discoveries about […]

microchip

Memories on a Microchip

Are your memories real? How do you know? These sound like questions from a mind-bending thriller – Total Recall, say; or Inception. But this isn’t science fiction. Researchers around the world are implanting memories, turning them on and off – and, according to one team, storing them on microchips. Wow. Okay. Let’s back up here. […]

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Aliens in the Lab

Researchers are creating new lifeforms that are chemically unrelated to any other life on earth. In fact, for the first time ever, scientists in Japan have built an artificial synapse, from the molecules up. What?! How can this be? Read on, intrepid voyager of the unknown, and discover for yourself. The basic idea is that […]

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